Bishop Gregory Parkes speaking on social justice at Saint Michael's Legal Center annual fundraiser in February.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9

Since 2006 St. Michael’s Legal Center for Women and Children, Inc. (SMLC) has been helping people who cannot afford legal services.

Started as a mission of Tampa’s Christ the King Catholic Church, SMLC’s main purpose is to provide pro bono legal advice and representation in the areas of family law, including child support, visitation, custody, and under limited circumstances, dissolution of marriage. SMLC also provides economic-related assistance, including mortgage foreclosure defense and bankruptcy. Serving women and men in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties, St. Michael’s strives to protect children and undergird family relationships.

SMLC’s expenses are underwritten by Christ the King. The church also hosts the annual St. Michael’s Fundraiser & Networking Event. SMLC lawyers are volunteers, as are some of its staff members. SMLC also receives funding through donations from lawyers, groups and individuals. The nonprofit organization estimates it has provided millions of dollars’ worth of professional services to its clients.

“After a four-year custody battle I had not seen my son in almost 18 months, now I have 50/50 custody,” a St. Michael’s client said. “If it weren’t for St. Michael’s, I may never have gotten the chance to be a father to my son.”

For more information about the services SMLC provides or to make a donation, visit its website at www.stmichaelslegalcenter.com or call 289-5385. Donations via check can be sent to 821 S. Dale Mabry Highway Tampa, FL 33609-4410. Attn: St. Michael’s Legal Center.